Governor Raimondo’s ‘buy local’ initiative aims to connect local suppliers with state’s largest employers

Nine of Rhode Island’s largest employers have made a public commitment to buy more products and services from local Rhode Island companies. Last week, in her State of the State address, Governor Gina M. Raimondo announced the Supply RI initiative, a new effort to help Rhode Island’s largest employers use their spending power to support local businesses.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy. When our biggest employers support local businesses, they know they’re getting a quality product and that their spending is going right back into our local economy,” said Governor Raimondo. “Supply RI will strengthen every business – big and small – that participates. I’m grateful to the employers that have already made a commitment to participate and will work with business and civic leaders across the state to increase participation.”

The founding participants of Supply RI include:
* Amica
* Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island
* Brown University
* Delta Dental
* Gilbane Building Company
* Infosys
* Lifespan
* Rhode Island School of Design
* Roger Williams University

The Governor’s FY19 budget proposal includes $475,000 to support the new initiative. The Commerce Corporation will maintain a comprehensive database of local suppliers and will provide support services for employers and suppliers, including networking events and information sessions on procurement. Local contractors and suppliers can sign up for information and alerts about these services at www.SupplyRhodeIsland.com or by calling 401-278-9100.

“Strengthening and growing our economy requires commitments and investments from all stakeholders — large institutions and small businesses, the private sector and the public sector. It is encouraging that 9 of our state’s biggest employers have already answered Governor Raimondo’s call and are aiming to use their spending power to support smaller local businesses,” said Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor. “This new initiative will introduce larger companies and institutions to smaller suppliers; and, through the strengthening of the local supply chain, it will assist in opening up opportunities for Rhode Island businesses and creating jobs for Rhode Islanders.”

According to research conducted for the Executive Office of Commerce, if the state’s colleges, universities and hospitals shifted just two percent of their contracts to companies based in Rhode Island, it could add more than $50 million to the state’s economy each year and create hundreds of new jobs. Approximately 60 percent of all state procurement dollars are awarded to companies with a local Rhode Island presence. During today’s press conference, Governor Raimondo set a goal to increase the amount local buying the state does by 10 percent over the next three years.

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